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Techniques to alleviate back and neck pain

Back and neck pain are among the most widespread reasons patients seek physiotherapy. And back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 80% of people at some point during their lives.

Back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain, and can be acute or chronic. Neck pain, which is closely associated with back pain, occurs when muscles are strained from poor posture or injury, or when joints are worn or nerves are compressed. Both conditions can be debilitating and effect a patient’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Early access to physiotherapy (within 14 days of occurrence) has a significant long-term impact on the health of patients as it helps to prevent chronic disability and decreases the proportion of cases that become chronic.

Tips on how to alleviate back and neck pain

If you suffer from back or neck pain, seek the guidance of a physiotherapist, chiropractor, or massage therapist.

Also, following these tips and techniques is a great step towards finding pain relief and keeping you moving for life.

Tip 1: Vary your position

Physiotherapist showing patient the correct posture to sit at a desk

Sitting at computers and desks all day puts increased pressured on your spine. After 30 minutes of sitting make sure you walk around to keep the flow of blood and fluids to your spine. Set up a standing workstation to vary your position while working at your computer. Make sure your work desk and computer are set up properly for sitting or standing to encourage optimal posture.

Book in with us and we can prescribe suitable and safe stretches or “pause exercises” and provide tips on how to correctly position yourself in front of your computer.

Tip 2: Stay flexible

A physiotherapist helps a client create more flexibility in their upper and mid back.

Optimal spinal health means having flexibility in all directions. If your thorax (upper-mid back and ribcage) has limited rotation movement, more load and stress can be transferred to your low back, neck or other body parts. Check your rotation by sitting in a chair with your arms crossed across your stomach; you should be able to turn equally to the right and left and see behind you easily. If you have an asymmetry between the right and left directions, or reduced motion, we can assess the reason why, mobilize your spinal joints, and give you exercises to maintain your thoracic mobility – essential for a healthy low back and neck.

Tip 3: Keep your core in check

A physio helps a client do some core exercises to alleviate back and neck pain.

Regain optimal control of your deep spinal muscles (core) following an episode of neck or back pain. Arbutus physiotherapy will provide a thorough examination of your spine, provide manual therapy and other treatment techniques, and help you regain any lost mobility by instructing you on how to achieve ideal postural alignment and prescribing exercises that will support your spine.

Tip 4: Stand up straight and track your habits

A physiotherapist helps a client work on her posture and develop better postural habits.

Be aware of habitual postures and positions. This includes, for example, always sitting on one side of the couch, slouching with your feet on the coffee table, carrying your bag/purse always over the same shoulder, sitting cross legged, or leaning usually on the same elbow. Habitually poor postures may indicate weaknesses in certain muscle groups or stiffness within the body. We can assess reasons why you may adopt these positions and how to correct them.